British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to preside over a meeting of the government’s emergency committee later on Monday, after which France extended its borders from Britain to spread a new strain of coronavirus roaming London and the south-east of England Closed.
The COBRA Civil Contingencies Committee meets in the English Channel with a warning of “significant disruption” around ports, going back miles across Kent, County in southeast England.
The tailback is back after France’s announcement on Sunday it was closing its borders for 48 hours, meaning the lorry cannot be found in the English Channel via boat. Items on containers are unaffected.
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The government has urged everyone to avoid traveling to Kent, which hosts several of the cross-channel ports. Dover sees around 10,000 lorries every day, accounting for around 20% of the UK merchandise trade. Eurotunnel, the rail service that connects Britain with mainland Europe, has also suspended services.
Canada, India and Poland are among the latest countries to stop flights from the UK after several countries in Europe. France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Austria, Denmark, Ireland and Bulgaria were among those to announce a comprehensive ban on flights from Britain on Sunday.
The move was made in the wake of Johnson’s announcement on Saturday that he was implementing a new Level 4 ban in London and the south-east of England – widely considered among the world’s most sophisticated – after warnings from his scientific advisors Is considered one of. Genome sequencing rules – that the new version was spreading much faster than existing strains.
In Brussels, experts from member countries were meeting on Monday to discuss the new version.
Johnson said there are early indications that the new version of the virus is 70% more infectious and is spreading rapidly in the capital and surrounding areas. On Sunday, the UK recorded a daily total of 35,928 new infections.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said in a “hazard assessment” on Monday that preliminary analysis in the UK shows the new version is “significantly more permeable”, with no indication that infections are more serious.
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The Stockholm-based agency said that some cases with the new version have already been reported by Iceland, Denmark and the Netherlands. It also cited media reports of cases in Belgium and Italy.
While experts are insisting that there is no evidence that the new strain is any more fatal, it is inevitable that more cases will result in more hospitalizations and subsequent virus-related deaths.
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said France’s ban on freight was “a bit surprising” and is putting contingency plans in place for the cant, including inaugurating Lorry Park and providing “welfare” for some of the drivers Is included.
“The Kent Dover-to-Kallis Eurotunnel, which we call the Short Straits, probably accounts for about 20% of cargo going in and out of the country,” he told Sky News. “But this is not the mainstay. Most of the goods actually come in and out of unaccounted containers and they will flow continuously.”
Shapps insisted that the public would not notice any shortages “for the most part” as a result of the ban on lorries and that coronavirus vaccines would continue to be supplied as they come through unaffected containers.
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All this economic disruption comes at a time of enormous uncertainty for the UK, leaving the EU’s tariff-free single market and customs union on 31 December less than two weeks ago.
Although the UK left the bloc on 31 January, it is in a transition period that effectively follows EU regulations by the end of this year. Negotiations on post-Brexit trade relations are still in deadlock and set to resume on Monday.
Retailers alleviated fears of food shortages at the very least, but warned that problems would occur if the trip was halted for some time and the UK and EU failed to agree after the Brexit trade agreement May occur.
The British Retail Consortium warned that the closure of France-to-UK traffic would create business “difficulties” over the busy Christmas period.
Andrew Opie, director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said, “Retailers stock up on goods ahead of Christmas, which should prevent immediate problems.”
“However, any prolonged closure of the French border will be a problem as Britain enters the final weeks before the transition ends.”
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Trade association Logistics UK has appealed to people to remain calm and not to access stock goods in supermarkets.
“Shoppers should not panic,” said Logistics UK general manager Alex Vech, adding that retailers are doing everything possible to ensure that there is stock within the system, including fresh produce, and it’s important that we remember that inbound. Traffic still has access to UK “